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Where Conservative Film is Now
Townhall ^ | 10/7/5 | Jason Apuzzo

Posted on 10/07/2005 5:50:27 AM PDT by Crackingham

Twenty months after Mel Gibson's "The Passion" took the nation's box office by storm, what progress have conservatives actually made in challenging liberal hegemony in Hollywood? Is it any easier today for a conservative-themed film to make its way down the studio pipeline than it was in early 2004?

The answer to this question must be a resounding 'no.' Based on projects recently greenlit by the major studios - including a host of films openly dismissive of the War on Terror - one might argue that Hollywood is drifting even further left than it was in 2004, when films like "Fahrenheit 9/11," "The Day After Tomorrow" or "The Manchurian Candidate" were released. Forthcoming studio films like "V For Vendetta," "Syriana" or even Steven Spielberg's "Munich" appear to question both the efficacy and the legitimacy of our current struggle against terrorism.

Frustrating as this may be, however, none of this should be cause for despair. If the studio system remains largely a vehicle for the liberal worldview, conservatives are nonetheless making a new niche for themselves in the world of independent filmmaking.

This is hardly surprising. Take the example of "The Passion." Because it came packaged with a star actor (Jim Caviezel) and star director (Mel Gibson), many people forget that "The Passion" was an independent film, financed by Gibson himself. "The Passion" was spurned by major studio distributors until it was acquired by independent distributor Newmarket Films - which no longer even exists, having been absorbed into the Time-Warner empire.

Lacking Gibson's fame and fortune, most conservative filmmakers face even more serious finance and distribution challenges. What they lack in resources, however, these new filmmakers make up with vision, feistiness, and a hunger for truth.

As co-director of the upcoming Liberty Film Festival (October 21-23 in West Hollywood), I've had the chance to watch countless films submitted by conservative filmmakers from around the country and around the world. A few trends were obvious: working on low budgets, conservatives are taking to documentaries like fishes to water - and are also embracing digital technology at a faster rate than mainstream Hollywood.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: culturewar; film; hollywood; hollywoodright; movies

1 posted on 10/07/2005 5:50:29 AM PDT by Crackingham
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To: Crackingham

They didn't seem to mention "Serenity." A sci-fi movie made by an ultra-lib... that somehow conveys an astonishingly conservative message.

2 posted on 10/07/2005 5:59:34 AM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: Crackingham

We watched "The Great Raid" a few weeks ago. This was a tremendously moving and inspiring film with a deeply conservative message, quite religious in flavor though subtle about that. I certainly intend to buy this for my young son when it comes out on DVD.

3 posted on 10/07/2005 6:30:49 AM PDT by Fairview
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To: Crackingham

"conservatives are taking to documentaries like fishes to water"

We shouldn't forget that Charlton Heston appeared in tons of documentaries. He was great.

4 posted on 10/07/2005 6:33:17 AM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: Crackingham
The Chronicles of Narnia from Disney will be released in December...the gospel story in allegory coming to theatres soon.

We should support this film; Disney is doing a good thing here.

5 posted on 10/07/2005 6:37:25 AM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: Borges; weegee; nopardons

Filmfan ping

6 posted on 10/07/2005 8:29:04 AM PDT by RightWingAtheist (Free the Crevo Three!)
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To: SoFloFreeper

Actually, I believe the man behind The Chronicles movie is Phillip Anshutz, the major stockholder of Regal Cinemas (he is partnering with Disney to make the movie; kinda handy owning a theater chain, isn't it). There was an article in the Knoxville News-Sentinel recently about Anshutz:

"Evangelical mogul shakes up film world

Published on June 4, 2005, Article 2 of 6 found.
Article ID: 417064895

The loaded words appear early and often in articles about entrepreneur Philip Anschutz of Denver. The list includes "elusive," "reclusive," "mysterious" and many others. Anschutz, who has not granted interviews since 1974, is a ghost worth billions of dollars. Nevertheless, Anschutz does have ideas."

PS: SoFloFreeper, how do I insert bold or italics or different fonts in my posts?

7 posted on 10/07/2005 9:34:50 AM PDT by TennesseeGirl (Hey, Hollywood, I will pay to be entertained...not offended.)
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To: RightWingAtheist
See also, from

The 2005 Liberty Film Festival will be held this October 21-23, 2005 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

The Liberty Film Festival showcases films that celebrate the traditional American values of free speech, patriotism, and religious freedom. Please note that festival tickets are only available for purchase on-line at this Liberty Film Festival website. We do not accept checks or phone reservations. Please do not contact the Pacific Design Center for tickets.

The festival will be held at the Pacific Design Center, SilverScreen Theatre, 2nd Floor Center Green, 8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069.

Parking is $6 per vehicle, pay upon arrival. After purchasing your tickets, please print your confirmation email and bring it to the theater. That is your ticket. Full Festival Passes can be picked up at the theater during the festival. Please note that no food or beverages (except for bottled water) are allowed in the theater or theater lobby. Food will be available at a cafe in the Pacific Design Center that will be open during the festival.The festival schedule is below. Please click on a 'BUY TICKET' button to purchase tickets. You can pay securely with your American Express, Discover, Mastercard, or Visa card.

Oct. 21 - Oct. 23


The Full Festival Pass provides access to all festival screenings, panels, and awards events. It's a $132 value for only $110! Buy now! Only a limited number available.

Friday, October 21
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM


feltest1.jpg 6:00PM "Fellowship 9/11" (15 mins., 2004)
Hilarious comic short by Rick Nyholm spoofs The Lord of the Rings and Fahrenheit 9/11.

6:15PM Festival Director Greeting by Govindini Murty & Jason Apuzzo

6:25PM Sponsor's Introduction by Paul Harberger, Foundation for Free Markets

reagan4.jpg 6:30PM Presentation of "LFF Best Film of 2004" Prize
to Stephen K. Bannon for his epic documentary In The Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word & Deed

uni.jpg 6:40PM "Brainwashing 201: The Second Semester" - World Premiere! (30 mins., 2005)
A hilarious yet sobering account by Evan Maloney of political correctness run amok on college campuses.  This special preview, with never-before-seen footage, gives an advance look at Evan's feature-length film due out in 2006!

horowitz.jpgFeaturing Special Introduction by author David Horowitz, who will speak about the Academic Bill of Rights. Q&A with Evan Maloney after the film.

deadmeat.jpg7:25PM "Dead Meat" Special Preview - World Premiere! (25 mins., 2005)
Documentarians Stuart Browning and Blaine Greenburg take a witty and pointed look at nationalized healthcare as practiced in Canada - and rebut the claims of Michael Moore's upcoming Sicko.  This is a special preview of the feature film due out in 2006!

Q&A with Stuart Browning and Blaine Greenburg after the film.

Friday, October 21
8:30 PM - 10:00 PM


8:30PM "Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60" - LA Premiere! (65 mins., 2005)
Actor Ron Silver narrates this explosive documentary about the UN.  "Broken Promises" identifies the enormous promise of the U.N. at its founding - and its failure to live up to that promise in humanitarian disasters in Rwanda, Bosnia, and the Middle-East.  Featuring interviews with Natan Sharansky, Donald Trump, Congressman Dan Burton, General Romeo Dallaire, Ambassador Dore Gold, Senator George Mitchell, Claudia Rosett, and UN aid workers, peacekeepers, and officials, "Broken Promises" makes a powerful case for UN reform. Directed by Kevin Knoblock, produced by David N. Bossie and Ron Silver. Ron Silver and the filmmakers are planning to attend in person, so be sure to buy tickets to this exciting event early!

The program will feature a Q&A with the filmmakers.

Saturday, October 22
9:00AM - 11:45AM

A film shorts program featuring exciting new conservative filmmakers!

seals.jpg 9:00AM "Sealed For Your Protection" (12 mins., 2005)
Free speech advocate Anna Z. interviews LA residents, ACLU lawyers, former LA Mayor Jim Hahn, and talk show host Dennis Prager about the controversial decision of the LA County Board of Supervisors to remove the cross from the LA County Seal. A film by Anna Z. & Jeffers Dodge.

parable.jpg 9:15AM "The Parable" - LA Premiere! (17 mins., 2005)
Two men's lives dramatically intersect when a hardworking shop owner and loving husband who believes in God encounter an amoral young man who believes only in violence.  (Parental Advisory: some violent imagery.) Directed by Brock Smith.  Produced by Brock Smith and Kenton Smith.

powers.jpg 9:35AM "Powers' Needle" - World Premiere! (23 mins., 2004)
A young drifter fantasizes about being a World War II hero in a romanticized past, while evading responsibility in the present. (Parental Advisory: some profanity.) Directed by Steve Kleiman. Produced by Tad Davis, Steve Kleiman, and Keith Robinson.

boots.jpg 10:00AM "365 Boots on the Ground" (58 mins., 2005)
Sergeant Kc Wayland documents his recent year-long tour of duty in Iraq, from recruitment, to deployment, to return home. This absorbing, first-person account shows the lives of Marines in Iraq, from their daily routines, to humorous and heartwarming interactions with Iraqi citizens and fellow soldiers, to shocking outbreaks of terrorist violence. (Parental Advisory: some profanity.) Directed by Kc Wayland, Produced by Kc Wayland and Tucker Tillman.

Q&A with Kc Wayland after the film.

robert wu5.jpg11:05AM "A Temp For All Seasons" (10 mins., 2005)
An office temp refuses to tell a lie for his boss - and humorous results ensue. Pressured by co-workers, boss, and friends to conform, the temp must decide whether he wants to stay true to his conscience - or cave in to pressure and keep his job. Directed by Keith Ray Putman, Produced by Michael Toay.

revolution3.jpg 11:15AM "Stop Bitching, Start A Revolution" (7 mins., 2005)
Documentarian/humorist Evan Maloney interviews left-wing protesters at President Bush's 2005 inauguration, and offers them Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore dolls as consolation prizes.

The program will feature a group Q&A with these up-and-coming filmmakers after the films.

Saturday, October 22
12:00PM - 1:15PM

"What Stories is Hollywood Not Telling?"
This exciting panel will feature screenwriters Andrew Klavan (Clint Eastwood's True Crime), screenwriter and blogger Roger L. Simon (Woody Allen's Scenes From a Mall), Craig Titley (Scooby-Doo, Steve Martin's Cheaper By The Dozen), Paul Guay (Jim Carrey's Liar, Liar), Burt Prelutsky (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, MASH), and Charlie Carner (Vanishing Point).

The program will feature a Q&A with the panelists.

Saturday, October 22
1:30PM - 3:15PM

marching2.jpg "Emancipation, Revelation, Revolution" - Special Preview Presentation (92 mins., 2005)
Documentary about the foundational role of the Republican Party in the abolition of slavery, and also the Civil Rights Movement.  "Emancipation, Revelation, Revolution" argues that the Republican Party was created to end slavery, and that major legal reforms and acts of legislation passed to give black Americans the vote - and full civil rights equal to whites - were created and passed by Republican legislators. The movie also follows the fascinating story of how every black American elected to Congress immediately after the Civil War was a Republican, how President Eisenhower signed into law the first major civil rights reforms of the 20th century, and how most black Americans up until the 1960s were Republicans. Featuring interviews with conservative black intellectuals and activists Shelby Steele, Deroy Murdock, Armstrong Williams, Niger Innis (CORE), Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Mason Weaver, Star Parker, Alveda King (the niece of Rev. Martin Luther King), and Gloria Jackson (great-grand-daughter of Booker T. Washington).  Directed by Nina May.  Produced by Nina May and Tricia Erickson.

Special introduction by noted conservative black activist Ted Hayes! The program will feature a Q&A with the filmmakers.

Saturday, October 22
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM

iraqi.jpg "Voices of Iraqi Freedom" - US Premiere (30 mins., 2005)
Kurdish Shorts from the First Iraqi Film Festival. These shorts, with the theme of anti-terrorism and anti-violence, are part of a two-part program created by noted Kurdish/Iraqi filmmaker Jano Rosebiani's Evini Films to train young Iraqis to express themselves artistically through cinema. The program takes 20 young Kurds and 20 young Iraqis, pairs them with film professionals in hands-on training, and then screens their short films throughout Iraq.  Cinema production and exhibition were virtually banned in Iraq for thirty years under Saddam Hussein - this program is the first to rejuvenate filmmaking in a free Iraq.

jiyan.jpgAs part of the "Voices of Iraqi Freedom" presentation, we will also screen Jano Rosebiani's narrative feature "Jiyan" (93 mins., 2003).  "Jiyan" is a moving, life-affirming story of a little orphan girl befriended by a Kurdish-American man helping to rebuild her home town in the wake of Saddam Hussein's chemical attacks of the late 1980s.

Saturday, October 22
5:45PM - 6:45PM

"Was Communism A Threat to Hollywood?"

Moderator: Film historian/journalist John Meroney
Panelists: Richard Schickel (TIME film critic, noted film historian), James Hirsen (best-selling author, Hollywood Nation), Ron Radosh (Red Star over Hollywood), Patrick Goldstein (LA Times film critic, columnist), Ed Rampell (author, Progressive Hollywood) and Jeff Britting of the Ayn Rand Institute (producer of the Oscar-nominated Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life).

Saturday, October 22
7:00PM - 9:15PM


"Cochise County, USA: Cries From the Border" - World Premiere! (117 mins., 2005)
Inspired by her own experiences living along the US-Mexico border, Arizona resident Mercedes Maharis documents the national tragedy of illegal immigration as experienced by the residents of Cochise County, Arizona. The county has only 130,000 residents, yet was the crossing point for more than 235,000 illegal immigrants in 2004. The movie documents the toll this takes on the local community, the environment, and on the immigrants themselves.  Featuring interviews with Cochise County residents & officials, Border Patrol officials, pacifists, civil rights activists, and illegal immigrants. It also features extraordinary footage of actual border crossings. The film argues for a fair and humane solution to this human tragedy. (Parental Advisory: film contains some violent images unsuitable for children.)

The program will feature a Q&A with the filmmaker.

Saturday, October 22
9:30PM - 11:30PM


"The Searchers" - John Wayne Tribute (119 mins.,1956)
As a tribute to John Wayne, we'll be screening John Wayne and director John Ford's greatest collaboration, The Searchers.  John Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, a former Confederate soldier whose family is massacred by native Indians. Setting out on a quest to find his abducted niece, Wayne suffers years of anger, privation, and loneliness before ultimately rediscovering his humanity. The Searchers captures the mythic quality of the American frontier, and Wayne's Ethan Edwards is one of the most powerful characters in movie history. Essential viewing for conservatives. Also starring Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood and Patrick Wayne.

Sunday, October 23
10:00AM - 1:15PM

zions.jpg10:00AM "Entering Zion" - World Premiere! (72 mins., 2005)
Documentarians/activists Kfir Alfia and Alan Lipton of the Protest Warriors go on a personal journey through modern Israel, from the clubs of Tel Aviv to the heart of the Gaza Strip, from the beaches of Eliat to the Security Wall.  The film is a political documentary - and a spiritual odyssey.  Directed and Produced by Kfir Alfia and Alan Lipton.

Film will be introduced by Emmy-award winning screenwriter Robert Avrech. Featuring a Q&A with the filmmakers after the film.

michael.jpg 12:00PM   FILM & TV PRODUCTION PANEL: Moderated by Michael Medved
Panelists include Frank Price (former President of Universal Pictures, Chairman of Columbia Pictures, Chairman of MCA Motion Picture Group); Joel Surnow (Executive Producer, Fox's "24"); Cyrus Nowrasteh (Writer, "Into the West," Writer/Producer of ABC's new 9/11 miniseries); Warren Bell (Executive Producer, “According To Jim,” “Ellen"); Scott Gardenhour (partner in Michael Bay's production company, producer on Pearl Harbor, Armageddon); Doug Urbanski (Gary Oldman's manager, Producer of The Contender).

Sunday, October 23
1:45PM - 3:15PM

mufti.jpg "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" - World Premiere! (70 mins., 2005)
The sequel to Relentless, Obsession traces the roots of modern Islamic terrorism to the alliance between Islamic clerics and the Nazi Party in the 1930s and 1940s.  The relationship of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to Adolph Hitler in particular is examined as the inspiration for radical Islamic movements and anti-Semitism in the Middle-East today.  Featuring interviews with Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, Alan Dershowitz, Israeli officials, former PLO terrorists, and the families of suicide bombers.  (Parental Advisory: film contains some violent images unsuitable for children.) Directed by Wayne Kopping, Produced by Raphael Shore and Peter Mier.  A production of

The program will feature a Q&A with the filmmakers.

Sunday, October 23
3:45PM - 6:00PM

benjamins.jpg3:45PM FILM FINANCE & DISTRIBUTION PANEL: Moderated by Steve Bannon, Film Financier and Distributor.
Panelists include Trevor Drinkwater (CEO, Wellspring Media and Genius Products, distributor of films under the prestigious Wellspring, AMC, Sundance Channel, and TV Guide labels); John Mueller (Senior Vice President, Jefferies and Company, an important film finance company); Patrick Russo (Principal, The Salter Group, also an important film finance company).

robo.jpg 5:00PM "Robotech - Special Anime Presentation" (30 mins., 2006)
A special preview of the upcoming anime film Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.  20 years ago, a groundbreaking program called Robotech debuted on American television, forever changing the way we look at animation. At the end of the original Robotech series Scott Bernard begins the search for Admiral Rick Hunter and prepares for a rendezvous with destiny. For 20 years "Robotech" fans have wondered what happened next. Join "Robotech"'s Kevin McKeever for a behind-the-scenes presentation on the most anticipated anime production in 20 years.  Featuring special trailers, new production footage, and a description of the anime process from conception to production.

pasta1.jpg 5:30PM "Grace Before Meals" - World Premiere! (22 mins., 2005)
In this TV pilot, a Catholic priest/chef visits American families, and shows them how to strengthen their bonds with each other and with their community through cooking and enjoying delicious meals.  Directed by Chris Beutler, Produced by Tim Watkins.

Sunday, October 23
6:15PM - 10:15PM

statue.jpg 6:15PM FESTIVAL AWARDS PRESENTATION with Presenters Michael Medved, Morgan Brittany, and Robert Davi.
Awards will be presented to the Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, and the Winner of the Screenplay Competition.

living.jpg 6:45PM "We The Living" (174 mins., 1942)
As our "100th Birthday Tribute to Ayn Rand," we'll be screening the 1942 Italian classic We The Living, based on Ayn Rand's novel of the same name. The film stars Alida Valli and Rossano Brazzi as young lovers in post-revolutionary Russia who must choose between conformity with the Communist Party, or the dictates of their own hearts. Mussolini banned the film for its anti-totalitarian message, and attempted to destroy all existing prints. Thought lost for many years, the film negative was rediscovered in the 1960s by Hank and Erika Holzer and restored, with Ayn Rand's guidance. Rarely seen, this film classic combines philosophy and art in a work of compelling drama (B & W, with subtitles). Directed by Goffredo Alessandrini, the film's restoration was produced by Duncan Scott and Hank & Erika Holzer.

Special introductions by producer Duncan Scott, and by Jeff Britting of the Ayn Rand Institute. There will also be a 10 minute intermission during the film.

10:15PM Festival Conclusion and Thanks.

8 posted on 10/11/2005 9:34:24 PM PDT by RonDog
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To: Crackingham

We really liked "The Greatest Game Ever Played." You can take the whole family.

9 posted on 10/15/2005 9:16:37 AM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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